Abdaljaleel M, Tawalbeh I, Sallam M, Hani AB, Al-Abdallat IM, Omari BA, Al-Mustafa S, Abder-Rahman H, Abbas AS, Zureigat M, Al-Abbadi MA
J Pathol Transl Med 57 (2) 102-112 [2023-03-00; online 2023-03-14]
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has emerged as a pandemic for more than 2 years. Autopsy examination is an invaluable tool to understand the pathogenesis of emerging infections and their consequent mortalities. The aim of the current study was to present the lung and heart pathological findings of COVID-19-positive autopsies performed in Jordan. The study involved medicolegal cases, where the cause of death was unclear and autopsy examination was mandated by law. We included the clinical and pathologic findings of routine gross and microscopic examination of cases that were positive for COVID-19 at time of death. Testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was confirmed through molecular detection by real-time polymerase chain reaction, serologic testing for IgM and electron microscope examination of lung samples. Seventeen autopsies were included, with male predominance (76.5%), Jordanians (70.6%), and 50 years as the mean age at time of death. Nine out of 16 cases (56.3%) had co-morbidities, with one case lacking such data. Histologic examination of lung tissue revealed diffuse alveolar damage in 13/17 cases (76.5%), and pulmonary microthrombi in 8/17 cases (47.1%). Microscopic cardiac findings were scarcely detected. Two patients died as a direct result of acute cardiac disease with limited pulmonary findings. The detection of SARS-CoV-2 in postmortem examination can be an incidental or contributory finding which highlights the value of autopsy examination to determine the exact cause of death in controversial cases.